Native American Tribes allowed do Marijuana Business

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 12, 2014.

The Barack Obama administration has decided to allow the Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana even in those states where pot remains illegal. This is a significant decision, which may have far-reaching consequences. Some federal restrictions may still apply to the relaxation, as marijuana can't be allowed to grow on public land and can't be sold to minors or drug cartels.

It would be interesting to see how many tribes will take advantage of the decision, as many of them are opposed to legalization of marijuana. The Justice Department guidelines will allow Native American tribes to formulate policies on their own. They can set up schemes to grow and sell marijuana in states where it's illegal, or ban marijuana in states, where it's legal.

It has been a long-standing demand of the Native tribes who sought more autonomy to set their own regulations on issues such as drugs, taxes and gambling. A 2011 survey conducted by JAMA Network, had revealed that 15 percent of Native American adolescents aged 12 to 17 suffer from a drug abuse disorder, compared to 7.9 percent of the entire adolescent population.

Only three tribes in California, Washington state and in the Midwest have expressed interest in selling marijuana. Other tribes may or may not follow suit. A tribe in South Dakota has already rejected a proposal to allow sale of marijuana. Former Klamath Tribes chairman Jeff Mitchell from Oregon expressed confidence that tribal governments will deal with the verdict appropriately and consider social and legal aspects as well as other implications before taking any decision.

The tribal policy in the United States, is based on an August 2013 Justice Department announcement that the federal government won't intervene if the states strictly regulate marijuana and take steps to keep it away from children, criminal cartels and federal properties.

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